How to hold on to love
Finding love is one thing but holding on to that love is another thing entirely. To help ensure your relationship stays on track, we've put together some strategies for keeping love alive – with some input from New York Times bestselling romance novelist Brenda Novak. Novak is the bestselling author of more than 30 Harlequin romance novels and through the extensive research she's done for her work, she has amassed a wide range of tips where finding – and holding on to love is concerned.
When things go wrong, it's sometimes easier to slip into a pattern of negative behavior instead of finding a solution like adults, but this will only cause more problems. "Allowing yourself to mentally or verbally tear down your significant other is like gnawing at the bond that holds you together," Novak says. Rather than giving in to your more immature instincts and making comments you know will hurt your partner, walk away until you're ready to communicate fairly and efficiently.
Don't forget about fun
Once you've been in a relationship for a little while, move in together and start making future plans, being practical often trumps being spontaneous -- like you were when you first started dating. "Some couples forgo the flowers, the cards, the dinner dates and the chocolates in favor of saving money," Novak says, but adds that it's important to remember your relationship is more than the number on a bank statement. You have to be smart, but what's worth more to you -- a few dollars or a relationship that will likely affect your whole life?
It's the little things that end up counting the most in the majority of relationships. Grand gestures are great, but not always doable or practical. Novak says the more thoughtful you are with your loved one, the more fulfilled and happy he'll be, and consequently, the more he'll be interested in giving back to you. Even if it's just doing a chore your guy typically does (but hates), Novak explains that these small but thoughtful touches will act like a hedge against the tough times, making it easier to deal during rough patches.
Showing your partner you care about them through touch is a very important part of maintaining a healthy relationship. Novak stresses, "Even when there's no chance that it will escalate into a sexual encounter, these little reminders that a spouse cares are nurturing to the soul." Whether it's a back massage, peck on the cheek or a subtle squeeze of the shoulder, small displays of intimacy go a long way in strengthening your relationship.